How I Start A New Garden

For every year of my married adult life my husband and I have had a garden.  Even when we first got married and lived in an apartment, we still had a garden.  I have started many new gardens in my lifetime and hope to start many many more!  The first thing I always do is wait for a nice soaking 24+ hour rain.  We recently had one of these kinds of rains here just two days ago, so I took the opportunity to dig out a new section for our garden and planted rutabagas, turnips, spinach and kale for a fall harvest.

The area had been previously overrun with massive weeds, but the nice soaking rain loosened up all their roots and so pulling them out was a cinch!  This is why you wait for a nice soaking rain :D

in the process of pulling out very tall weeds by hand (btw in the back left corner you can see my husband working in another section of the garden)

in the process of pulling out very tall weeds by hand (btw in the back left corner you can see my husband working in another section of the garden…we often garden together *grin*)

You can see exactly in the picture just how tall the weeds were.  To pull them out you simply don some sturdy leather work gloves, grab the plant very firmly at the base as close to the ground as possible and pull…as long as the ground is wet enough 80% of the weeds should come out with very little to slightly moderate effort.  With the other 20% of the weeds, you’ll get the plant but the roots will get left behind..no biggie, they’ll get dug out later on..the main goal right now is simply to clear the spot of weeds.

all clear :)

all clear :)

Once the spot is mostly cleared of weeds, grab a shovel and start digging :D  My most favorite shovel is the Kobalt “Excavator”, at least that is what it was called when we bought two of them nearly ten years ago, now they’re called “Kobalt short-handle fiberglass digging shovel“.  Why a shovel?  you might ask, Why not a tiller?  Well, there are three main reasons why I prefer a shovel 1.)  They don’t make any noise.  Gasoline powered tillers are obnoxiously LOUD, which is annoying and turns the pleasant task of garden work into a drudgery simply to be tolerated.  2.)  Shovels don’t stink!  Gasoline powered tillers stink!  They stink BAD!  3.)  Shovels don’t require gasoline.  Other than the initial upfront cost and the price of a metal file for the occasional sharpening, as long as you clean it after every use and keep it stored away in a dry place, the shovel will last for many many years without any further money or time lost in maintenance.  Like I said before we’ve had ours for nearly ten years, they are 25 bucks each, so for only 50 bucks we have been using the same shovels to garden for going on ten years now…that’s 5 bucks a year in money spent so far.  Save the gasoline for the chainsaw! :lol:

Another thing that most people don’t ever consider: Digging makes you STRONG!   -and that’s a good thing!  Not only will you save money over using a tiller and paying for gasoline and maintenance for that tiller, but you will also reap the many physical benefits of digging with a shovel.  No need to jump up and down in front of your TV or pay someone to let you walk in place on their machine in a room that smells like sweat filled with other people who are all doing the same exact thing…like some sorta hamster wheel for humans, NO THANK YOU!  Why do any of that shit when you can just grow a garden??  You get the benefits of the physical labor as well as the nutritional benefits of all the tasty fruits and veggies you will eat.  Sounds like a win-win situation if you ask me :D

freshly dug

freshly dug

Digging is very simple, anyone of average and even less than average physical fitness can do so.  Those of less than average physical fitness may have to go it slowly and not be able to dig much at first, but if you discipline yourself and keep on going you WILL get stronger and be able to dig more and more…after all, you have to start somewhere, and I can think of no better way to get fit than growing your own food!

The way I dig, I just jab my shovel into the ground, stand on the flattened steel part with one foot (sometimes both feet) and push the shovel using my weight and lower body strength as deeply into the ground as it will go.  Then, with my knees slightly bent, lifting with my legs and NOT my back (so important!) I flip the “clod” of dirt upside down so that what was the top of the ground is now at the bottom of the hole and the bottom of the “clod” is now the new surface of the soil.  Then I take my shovel and stab at the clod repeatedly until it is all broken up and pushed down into the hole, remove any roots, sticks, rocks etc. that you may find as you break up the clod.  Any weeds that were left are now at the bottom of a 10-12 inch deep hole covered by a new layer of dirt, once you plant your seeds by the time the roots get down that far the weeds will have long decomposed and added nutritional benefit to the soil.  This works when it’s only a few weeds, but not with many, so don’t think you can take the easy way out and skip the weed pulling part before you dig…it will not work :P

The plot in the pictures is about 15′ x 20′ and only took me about 90 minutes from weeding to a freshly dug plot, and that’s for a nearly 6 month pregnant woman who had to take many pee breaks! lol  And look, if a nearly 6 month pregnant woman can do it, then so can you :D

My (Current) Favorite Meal

This is my take on a traditional Chili Rellenos using homegrown peppers :)

First, I make the refried beans.  Take 2 cups of pinto beans (we buy organic in 25 lb. bags for $1.50/lb.) and soak in a warm place for 12 hours, drain and rinse and let sprout for 12-24 hours.  Sprouting neutralizes enzyme inhibitors and other “anti-nutrients” that are inherent to ALL seeds and act as a protective mechanism for the seed, once sprouted it is no longer a bean but now a plant.  This is what pinto beans look like after sprouting:

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Then cook the beans just like any other bean, boil in water till soft then drain really well and set aside or store in fridge until ready to make the refried beans.  To make the refried beans, chop 1 medium-large onion very finely and mince a couple of cloves of garlic.  Fry them in butter, bacon grease, or coconut oil or some combination thereof, over low heat until very soft and carmelized.  Turn up the heat to medium-high, add more fat and then add your cooked sprouted pinto beans, mashing with a potato masher and frying until all the fat is absorbed, keep adding the fat as you fry until it is nice and creamy…if it seems dry you haven’t added enough fat!!  Season liberally with salt and pepper… Here is the finished product:

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Next, you cook your rice.  We like organic brown basmati rice that we buy in 25 pound bags just like the pinto beans.  Soak the rice for about 12 hours, rice doesn’t sprout very well in my experience but as long as you put it in a warm place and plenty of scummy bubbles form (a sign that germination has occurred) it should be fine for eatin’.  I most often cook my rice in homemade homegrown chicken broth.  About 3 cups soaked rice to 6 cups chicken broth cooked very very very slowly over very very very low heat for about 45 minutes to an hour.  Turn off heat, let sit covered for about 10 minutes then fluff with a fork and add butter and salt and pepper.  This is a basic brown rice that I make at least once a week and keep on hand in the fridge for quick meals.

Now that the refried beans and rice are ready, brown some ground beef, in this case I used grassfed ground beef :)

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Then cut some cold cream cheese into “sticks”.  I have also made this dish in the past using goat cheese made from our goat’s milk, but since my goats aren’t in milk right the cream cheese will have to do :)

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Then stuff your cream cheese and then the ground beef into your peppers.  In this case I used mildly spicy dark green “Biggie” chili and light green “Hungarian Budapest” peppers from the garden…you can use ANY type of pepper!

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Cover your pan full of stuffed peppers with aluminum foil and bake in a 325 degree oven for about 30 minutes or until peppers are soft, you’ll know when the peppers are close to done as their enticing aroma fills the whole house with deliciousness!  Then take pan out of oven, lift up foil and top the peppers with cooked brown rice and shredded cheese, cover with foil and put back in oven for a few more minutes until rice is heated through and cheese is melted.

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Serve up the finished product with the refried beans on the side and top with sour cream and salsa and/or hot sauce or do like me and replace the rice with a couple of nitrate/nitrite free all beef hot dogs!  Either way, it’s DAMN GOOD :D

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High Summer Stir-Fry

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You’ve got oodles and tons of veggies pumping out of the garden every.single.day. . . it’s all you can do to keep up with the canning and the freezing and the fermenting and yet there is MORE STILL!  That’s when you make what I like to call a “High Summer Stir-Fry” which, in my opinion, is the epicurean epitome of the summer garden!

First get out your cutting board and start chopping those veggies!  I snap the beans first and then cut in half and set aside, chop up the onion, garlic, any peppers (both hot and sweet), yellow summer squash, zucchini squash, tomatoes, and any herbs.  Chop them all to your desired size, some like larger hunks and others like smaller..just keep in mind that the larger hunks take longer to cook and try to make everything about the same size if you can.

Next, get out a great big wok, stir-fry skillet or huge cast iron pan.  I like to use my huge and heavy 12″ diameter cast iron skillet, a flea market find from over 10 years ago that was in horrible shape but I restored to near perfect condition..I use it for just about everything!  Add a fair amount of oil to the pan, I usually use peanut oil or coconut oil, enough for it to liberally coat the bottom of the pan and heat over medium-high heat.

The key to a stir-fry is to add the things that take longer to cook first.  So, I always add green beans first and let fry for about 3 minutes and then I add the onions, garlic, and peppers and let everything fry again for 3-4 minutes while constantly stirring.  Then I add in the squashes, mix really well, then turn heat down to medium and cover and let steam/fry cook for about 10 minutes till squash is cooked through.  And lastly add your tomatoes and chopped herbs (I usually use parsley, oregano, and basil..all from the garden) and stir and cook for about one minute.  Season with grey sea salt and freshly ground pepper and if there are no hot peppers in the stir-fry then add some homemade hot sauce too (that’s how I like it, and we still have close to a gallon of hot sauce left over from last year…and I must say, it has aged quite well :) )

Dish it up and chow down :D

 

My Video Game Theory Of Life

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In a land far far away from here, one day I decided to go out and buy a video game, a new one called “Earth”…and I am playing it still.

Being a gamer, this is how I view life, as a video game, and the real me is outside of all just playing away.

Because I want to have a good time, and because I wish to win the game, I do my best to abide by the rules and parameters of the game’s Creator. But some of the other players have rebelled against the Creator of the game, thinking that they somehow know of a better way to win the game apart from the Creator, they have cheated and taken shortcuts and developed a different set of rules and parameters that must be adhered to in order to “win” the game…but this “game” within the game doesn’t actually exist, and in reality is a snare used to trap people and keep them from playing the REAL game. Their “game” within the game has wrecked all kinds of havoc and destruction, however the Creator of the game allows this to continue in order to show that the game cannot be played apart from him, there are NO SHORTCUTS…taking a shortcut means you are going to have a bad time playing the game.

Making yourself aware of the instruction manual (A.K.A. “The Bible” = Basic Instructions Before Leaving Earth) and adhering as closely as possible to those instructions is your primary safeguard against falling into this snare.

The majority of these instructions are pretty simple and straightforward:

1. To be successful in this game you must listen to and trust in the game’s Creator, not in the game itself or in other people playing the game with you. Some of these people are real and playing the game for real, just like you are, but others, although looking quite realistic, are simply constructs of the game itself. One of the goals of the game is learning to discern this difference.

2. Do not take the Creator lightly or use him as a means to further your own ends as a “cover” for evil deeds like the rebels do, professing to be all good and holy and righteous while all the while playing their own “game” apart from the Creator’s game. Do not profess to trust in and follow the game’s Creator if you really do not mean it and do not intend to play the game according to his rules and parameters.

3. For the duration that you are inside the game, for every six days that you work you should rest for one day. This does not mean work seven days and never rest or work five days and rest for two days. These instructions are for your own benefit and represent the perfect balance, you’ll work enough to make a decent living so that you may exist somewhat comfortably within the game and that one day of rest will prevent you from getting stressed-out and overtired which can lead to you having a bad time playing the game. I don’t yet know if the ratio works in larger proportions, if resting two days for every twelve days of work or three days for eighteen days of work is just as legitimate, but it’s definitely worth experimenting with I would think.

4. If you wish to stay alive a long time, you will respect and honor the parents through whom you made passage into this game. This doesn’t mean you have to like or even love them, but you should go out of your way to treat them with kindness and consideration and see to it that their basic needs are taken care of as they age and get ready to leave the game.

5. You have NO RIGHT to forcibly remove another player from the game, doing so is an automatic forfeiture of your right to stay in the game. If someone tries to remove you from the game then use your own best judgement as to what you should do. Defending your right to stay in the game is NOT wrong, especially if, at the same time, you are defending other players who have not yet developed the ability to defend themselves, like young children for example. The rebels who are playing the “game” within the game have nothing but pure hatred for those who profess to follow the Creator of the game and strive to adhere to his instruction manual over the rules and parameters of their “game”. If they discover who you are, they WILL seek to forcibly remove you from the game by any means necessary. However, being forcibly removed from the game by a rebel guarantees you an automatic victory especially if you sacrifice your place in the game in order that others might continue playing. If there are no young children or innocent bystanders involved and you are alone then it comes down to a personal decision as to whether you wish to defend your right to stay in the game or receive an automatic victory by allowing yourself to be forcibly removed. No one else can make that decision for you.

6. Do not have sex with anybody or anything other than your own spouse of the opposite gender!!  If you wish to have sex but have no spouse then get married, but ONLY to a human that you are not already related to and ONLY to a human that is of the gender that is opposite your own.  And, no, you cannot legally be married to more than one spouse.  Sex is allowable under these parameters ONLY!!  Sex partaken of under any other set of circumstances, while it might seem like fun for the moment, will lead to certain consequences which will make for a bad time playing the game. These instructions are for your benefit and protection, if you are smart you will not take them lightly!!

7. Do not take or use things that do not belong to you. There are a great many and numerous interactive objects within the game, but using or taking what does not belong to you can anger and enrage other players in the game which means you are going to have a bad time playing the game. The key here is to remember this: If you wouldn’t want it done to you, don’t do it to somebody else…and nobody wants to be stolen from.

8. Never speak, write, or adhere to that which is not true. Since every single second of playtime within the game is being recorded and constantly reviewed by the Creator of the game, lying is purely pointless and just makes you look retarded. Like I said before, if you wouldn’t want it done to you, don’t do it to somebody else…and nobody wants to be lied to.

9. Do not desire to have what other players in the game have and then despise them for it because you do not have it. If you desire a house like theirs, work hard, save up money and buy one. If you desire a car like theirs, work hard, save up money and buy one. If you desire a spouse like theirs, get off your lazy ass and go out into the world and find one or if you are already married work to become a better spouse yourself. If you desire another player’s beauty or intelligence or any other thing over which they have no control, but were gifted them by the Creator of the game, then seek to make the most of the beauty or intelligence or whatever it is that you have been gifted with. You are NOT them and will NEVER BE them and to desire what they have and then despise them for it is purely pointless and just makes you look retarded. Work hard and make the most of who you are and what you have and you will not desire to possess what others have.

10. And last but not least remember that which you give out will return back to you. The Bible calls this “reaping what you sow”. Sow an evil seed and you will reap a full crop of evil. Sow a good seed and you will reap a full crop of goodness. While the “harvest” can, at times, be reaped from within the game, for example sow seeds of procrastination and you will reap a crop of sloth…sow seeds of intemperance and you will reap a crop of gluttony…sow seeds of whining and complaining and you will reap a bitter crop of loneliness and despair etc.   . . . BUT, more often than not, the full “reaping” is held in reserve for the day of judgment, which occurs after the game is over, during which each player’s performance in the game is judged and rewards and penalties are dealt out accordingly. So while looks can be deceiving and for a short time within the game it may look as though evil prospers and good people suffer beware of the fact that it’s just a game and not of a long duration compared to the real reality of eternity where the TRUE repercussions of their actions will be meted out once the game ends.

Some final points of advice:  According to the Creator’s instruction manual, if you wish to get the very most out of your experience while playing the video game called “Earth”, you should get married (see point # 6) and have children, preferably many children.  You should also grow a garden and strive to learn lots of different and varied skills for living off the land and spend lots of time within the main construct of the game, which isn’t the city or town built by other players but the wild or the wilderness, learn how to care for it and protect it and it will take care of you.  I personally find that one of the main challenges of the game is learning to discern lies from truth and nothing is ever as it seems on the surface.  Everything is backwards, almost to the point of ridiculousness…this is due to the twisted perversion of the “game” within the game that the rebels are playing and at this late stage of the game they have successfully deceived the majority of the playing population into believing that their version of the game is real.  If you are playing correctly then most of the time you will find yourself doing the exact opposite of everybody else, save for a select remnant few (you know who you are).  So keep this in mind…to move up you must go down, to be first you must make yourself last, to be scorned is to be exalted, to lose everything is to receive everything, to die is to live, and the truth is simple but more paradoxical than the complexity of their lies.

Method For Making Pea Soup

I harvested all the rest of our green peas yesterday, and made fresh homemade pea soup which we had with dinner last night.  This isn’t really a “recipe” but more of a method that can be applied to small two person batches or large “feed a crowd” batches of pea soup…I don’t suggest canning pea soup, it is best fresh, peas are one thing that I never can in any form, I just don’t think they taste right unless they’re absolutely fresh! :)

peas in pod

peas in pod

First, you pick the peas, feeding the spent pea vines to the goats.  Then, you shell the peas from the pods, feeding the now empty pods to the goats.  Next, you chop up some onion and garlic (preferably homegrown…mine was :D ), I like to use a ratio of 1 medium onion and 1 cloves of garlic for every 1 cup of peas.  Heat up a big pot over medium heat and add some butter or bacon grease, which is what I used.  Saute the onions and garlic in the fat for about 5-7 minutes, stir occasionally.  Add in the garden fresh shelled peas and continue the saute for about 5 more minutes, remember to stir!

bright yellow fat layer on top of homemade chicken broth made from hoemgrown chicken.  this bright yellow fat is indicative of a healthy chicken raised on bugs and green plants...I dare you to find fat like this on a chicken at the store! (hint: you won't find it!)

bright yellow fat layer on top of homemade chicken broth made from homegrown chicken. this bright yellow fat is indicative of a healthy chicken raised on bugs and green plants and is super nutritious and tasty!  …I dare you to find fat like this on a chicken at the store!         (hint: you won’t find it.)

Next, dump some broth into the big pot, just enough to barely cover the peas.  Bring to a boil and then turn down the heat to a simmer and cover the pot, let simmer for anywheres from between 10 to 20 minutes.  I like really fresh green tasting pea soup so I simmer for only about 10 minutes, I don’t suggest cooking longer than 20 minutes though.

just added chicken broth to peas, check out that bright yellow fat melting in the bottom left hand corner

just added chicken broth to peas, check out that bright yellow fat melting in the bottom left hand corner..it lends SO MUCH flavor to the soup! so much so, that soup made without my own homemade homegrown broth just tastes FLAT and BORING to me now..

After everything has cooked to your liking, throw it all in the blender with some mint and chives (also homegrown)..I like a hefty amount of mint, about 30 leaves for each “blender full” of soup.  But don’t be afraid to adjust according to your own tastes.  Other great herbal combinations are parsley and chives OR mint and cilantro

blenderize...in batches if necessary ..

blenderize…in batches if you have to..

Add the pureed pea soup back to the pot and heat over medium-low heat until hot enough to eat, season to taste with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, serve it up and enjoy!

the finished pea soup

the finished pea soup

 

 

Pregnancy Advice From A MaMa Of Five (soon to be six)

I announced it on facebook, but you readers here may not have seen it, so I’ll announce here as well:  I am currently 14 weeks pregnant with child #6 which means that he/she should make an appearance sometime on or around December 4th!  My youngest son, Samuel, will be 3 years old in a couple of weeks which means that he and this current baby will be about 3 1/2 years apart, which is my largest spacing between children ever.

The morning all day sickness has been worse than what I usually experience, although, in the past 2 weeks or so it has really started to noticeably subside and I am starting to get some of my normal energy back.  I’m usually not one to suffer much during the first trimester, out of all my children this has definitely been the worst..with the second worst occurring during my pregnancy with my only daughter, Charity, who will 4 years old in a couple of weeks.  Which makes me think that 1.) it is another baby girl  OR  2.) I’m getting too old for this shit! lol  I turned 31 almost a month ago, all of my other pregnancies occurred between the ages of 19 and 28..this is the first pregnancy of my 30’s and it has not been a pleasant one thus far.

Seriously, if you are young married woman reading this, my first bit of advice to you is to have your babies as early as possible when your body is young and strong and able to handle it with enthusiasm!  Biologically speaking, your optimal years of fertility are between the ages of 18 and 25.  I had practically ZERO morning sickness with my first three children and my third child was born when I was 24 years old, but, since then, it seems like it has gotten progressively worse with each new pregnancy…pregnancy number four being slightly worse than pregnancy number five and this pregnancy, thus far, being the absolute worst.

I cannot stomach a large meal, have not been able to since about week six of this pregnancy.  I eat many small protein rich “snack-size” meals throughout the day, the moment I feel hungry, and that seems to help immensely.  Things are getting better though, last night I actually managed to eat the whole burger for dinner along with an O’Doul’s Amber non-alcoholic beer (which, surprisingly, wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be)  Usually, with a food like that, I would have to cut it in half and eat the other half 2-3 hours later…if I ate the whole thing I would usually feel nauseated for at least an hour afterward, sometimes longer.  But then, if I allow myself to get too hungry I also feel nauseated, even after I eventually do eat.  Altoids, with their copious amounts of natural peppermint oil usually help in taking the edge off the nausea though…so does candied ginger.  Also fresh pineapple and baked sweet potatoes swimming in butter seem to really agree with me.. However, plain whole milk yogurt, hardboiled eggs, or bits of whole milk mozzarella cheese have been my main “go-to” snacks as they are pretty bland and very easy to just grab and munch without much fuss (and with 5 kiddos to care for I require easy snacks!) but like I said, things are starting to get gradually better thank you God!

I am, of course, religiously drinking my red raspberry leaf infusions (1 oz. dried herb with 4 cups boiling water poured over it and allowed to steep for at least 4 hours, strain then drink.)  I found a really good deal on Amazon Prime for organic red raspberry leaf by the pound and also taking my cod liver oil but I have to divide the dose into thirds and take 1 tsp. after my first feeding of the day and then another teaspoon after a mid-day feeding and then another teaspoon right before bed, all totaling up to the required 1 tbsp. a day.  Sometimes I take a bit of raw apple cider vinegar mixed in a little bit of water before taking my cod liver oil, the vinegar increases the acidity of my stomach thereby helping in the digestion of the cod liver oil, or at least that is the theory.  I notice that when I do take the vinegar though I have less “after burps” containing essence of fishiness. (yuck)

Naturally, I have been more tired than normal, I have NEVER been one to take naps but lately I find myself taking a little rest around 3 or 4pm.  Mostly I just lay on the couch and play a video game or watch a movie with the kids (with the two toddlers climbing all over me, of course lol) for an hour or so..sometimes I fall asleep, mostly I don’t, but when I get up I feel refreshed and hungry.  Then we grab a snack and go outside and play in the garden.  The fresh air combined with the feel of soft dirt and cool plants always works wonders on my spirit, I’ve even been getting up close to 7am on most days now (usually awakened by hunger, which I would, under normal circumstances, usually ignore and go back to sleep…buuuut, like I said, with this pregnancy, doing that just makes me feel worse so now I force myself to get up and eat something..).  I usually go outside and putter about in the garden until the rest of the household wakes up around 8:30am.  I just love being out there in the quiet stillness with the pale light of dawn and the slight bit of fog still clinging low to the hollow in which we live, everything sparkling with dew as the sun rises over the ridge and light pours down through the trees setting all the garden to a brilliant diamond-like blaze (sorta like the hide of a twilight vampire lol :roll: )..it is at that precise moment that I feel most at peace :)

I have cut back on a lot of things though, after nearly 3 years of milking I have finally dried off my goats in preparation for breeding them this Fall..which is one less thing I need to do and has freed up at least ninety minutes in my schedule…plus the two older boys, who are 11 and 9, have really started to pitch in and do more around the house, partly to help me as they always see how tired I am and partly because a lot of the new chores are just plain fun!  They especially like making their own eggs and toast for breakfast, or popping popcorn for a snack or for after dinner (in a popcorn popper, on the stove, we don’t own a microwave..) and they like to compete with each other on who can carry and stack the most firewood, they even enjoy watering the garden believe it or not! lol

So, all in all, my advice for pregnancy would be this:

1.)  Try to have most of your babies between the ages of 18 and 25…of course, get married FIRST!

2.)  If you are nauseated, eat small protein rich snacks often and don’t let yourself get too hungry.  Stay away from white sugar and white flour products which will cause abnormal spikes in your blood sugar and just make you feel worse and more tired.

3.)  If you’re tired, rest. (PERIOD)

4.)  Do things that help you to feel peaceful and calm, and ask for help if you need it.  Seriously, NO ONE expects you to be Wonder Woman!

5.)  Don’t forget about nutrition!  Good nutrition is the most important aspect of a healthy pregnancy!  The higher quality your nutrition the more likely that your pregnancy will progress normally!

Check out my blog post: My Diet For Pregnancy and Breastfeeding

Three Food Items I Never Buy (And Why)

In June of 2001, when I graduated from high school at the age of 18, I weighed around 220 pounds, a size 16/18. In the six months following graduation I lost 60 pounds adhering to the “low carb” method of weightloss. I was first introduced to this way of eating by Suzanne Somers in her book “Get Skinny On Fabulous Food” I then went on to read her earlier books and her books that came out later on, my favorite being “Eat, Cheat, And Melt The Fat Away” published in 2003 (I found all of these books at the library btw).  Her books contain well written, easy to understand explanations as to why sugar is bad for you, fats and protein are good and why the key to good health lies in keeping your blood sugar under control.

This is KEY because when your blood sugar is very high from eating simple carbs like white flour and white sugar products (and even complex carbs like whole grains, or “healthy cereals”..more about that later..) your body secretes insulin, which is a hormone, that brings your sugar levels back down to a normal level by turning excess sugar into fat…but if all you eat is carbs then your insulin levels become chronically high which throws all your other hormones outta whack making it almost impossible to lose weight.  Besides which, fat and cholesterol are NECESSARY for hormone production.  But I digress…it was this way of eating combined with daily 1 hour walks and weekly 7 mile hikes at the state park (usually on Saturday mornings) that helped me to lose 60 pounds in 6 months.

Fast forward into the future, 12 years and 5 children later, and I have still managed to keep 40 of that 60 pounds off because what I did wasn’t “just a diet” it was a complete changing of the way that I eat. Even now I eat roughly 150 carbs a day on average, primarily from vegetables and fruit, while the average American consumes close to 500 carbs a day, mostly in the form of high fructose corn syrup derived from GMO corn.

But my interest in nutrition and health didn’t just stop with weightloss, I became deeply intrigued by “high protein, high fat” diets. I went on to read a couple of books by Dr. Diana Schwarzbein (whom Suzanne Somers recommended in her books) along with several of Dr. Atkins books and another book called “Life Without Bread” which I also found at the library and that book eventually led me to finding the cookbook/nutrition textbook “Nourishing Traditions” in 2004 and the rest, as they say, is history :grin:

Two other books that I read a few years ago that I also recommend are Homo Optimus about Dr. Jan Kwasniewski’s Optimal Diet for humans which you can get for FREE online, just click the link!  And the book “Good Calories, Bad Calories” By: Gary Taubes (which I also got from the library..shoot, I rarely ever buy books lol..)..

So, based upon my knowledge of health and nutrition, here are the 3 food items I never buy and why:

1. Dry Boxed Cereal – Far too expensive, full of sugar, and not AT ALL healthy in any way, shape or form. It’s basically a bowl of sugar topped with milk flavored water (skim milk) or, heaven forbid, SOY MILK, and all in the name of “healthy eating” :lol:  I have not eaten dry boxed cereal in over 5 years, my three year old and two year old toddlers have NEVER eaten it.  Going back further than five years I still only bought it very occasionally, usually organic cereal like Cascadian Farms brand that I would buy on clearance for 75-99 cents a box from my local closeout stores, Big Lots and Ollie’s.  I still find these deals from time to time, but I no longer waste my money on them, it’s just not worth it.

In order to create all those little puffy crunchy shapes the grains used, whether it be wheat, oats, corn or rice, go through a high heat and high pressure extrusion process where the grain is ground into a slurrie (like a batter) and then have hot air blown into them to “puff” them out.  Plus, the grains themselves, before ever going trough their high heat high pressure extrusion process are questionably healthy at best.    

A little known fact about grains: wheat, rice, oats, beans they are a SEED.  This is SO important!!

Another little known fact, SEEDS are the baby form of a plant.  The whole goal and purpose in life for a seed is to find it’s ideal growing conditions…warm temperatures, lots of water along a beach with a pina colada in hand….no wait, that’s MY ideal growing conditions!  ;-)

But seriously, a seed’s sole purpose is to sprout and grow into a plant and in order to do this the seed has certain protective mechanisms, namely certain enzymes whose function is to protect the seed…the main one is called “phytic acid”.  In the wild, the seed would have matured on the stalk and then be eaten, plant and all, by some type of herbivorous creature with some chewing involved, but usually swallowed whole, especially in the case of birds.  And the phytic acid, which is the seed’s protective barrier, would neutralize the digestive enzymes so that the seed couldn’t be digested in hopes that when it came out the “tail end” later on it would be resting in a good place to sprout, with it’s own special “compost” encasing it.   Each and every creature, especially birds, spreads around seeds in this way.

In the case of most herbivorous creatures, those who live solely on plant matter, this isn’t a problem because they usually have at least 3 or 4 stomachs with one stomach, called the “rumen”, acting as a large fermentation vessel.  This process of fermentation neutralizes the “protective mechanism” of the seed, thereby making all the nutrients in the seed fully available for absorption by the body.

BUT if you’re a human and you aren’t fortunate enough to have your own built in “fermentation vessel” the phytic acid itself can cause problems in the body, weakening the power of the digestive juices and enzymes which leads to a WHOLE host of other problems which occurs when our food isn’t digested properly, most of the diseases of “modern man” find their root here. Without neutralizing the phytic acid through fermentation the nutrients remain bound up in the seed for the purpose of feeding the young plant once the seed sprouts…therefore the germination process, soaking the seed in water until it sprouts, also neutralizes the phytic acid.

Instead of cereal we eat EGGS from our own hens, and sausage and bacon, oftentimes during the growing season they are combined with homegrown veggies like fried taters OR tomatoes, peppers, onions, garlic, zucchini, or yellow summer squash.  My favorite breakfast has been and always will be scrambled eggs topped with homemade garden fresh salsa and homemade homegrown goat cheese!  We also eat oats in it’s various fermented ways, check out my blog post “Oats: 3 Ways”

2.  Commercial bottled salad dressing – We’ve all done it, set up a mound of nice greens, my favorite being homegrown baby spinach…add toppings like onion, bell peppers, thinly sliced carrots, raw broccoli, some chopped hard boiled egg a bit of shredded cheese and then we DROWN IT ALL in GOBS of Hidden Valley Ranch Dressing or Kraft Roka Bleu Cheese dressing and we call that healthy eating! :lol:  And, while it may be low carb in nature, that dressing is anything but healthy!  Practically ALL commercial bottled salad dressings (with a few exceptions here and there, usually found in the natural/organic food aisle) contain soybean oil, a polyunsaturated oil, which is a MAN MADE fat.  You take somethings like genetically modified corn or soybeans or rapeseeds and put it through an intensive multi-step industrial process to extract the oils.  These oils are NOT naturally occurring God given fats and they are THE WORST thing you can put into your body!

graphic depicting the multi-step industrial process used to create vegetable oil, and remember the oil is heated to 450 degrees Fahrenheit during this process which is why deodorizing is the final step, so that you can't taste that it's rancid...ewwwwwww

graphic depicting the multi-step industrial process used to create vegetable oil whether it be soybean, corn, canola or safflower oil…the oil is heated to 450 degrees Fahrenheit during this process which is why deodorizing is the final step, so that you can’t taste that it’s rancid…ewwwwwww

Instead of relying on over priced unhealthy bottled salad dressing I prefer instead to dress the majority of my salads with moist grey sea salt, freshly ground black pepper, a few dashes of first cold pressed extra virgin olive oil and raw apple cider vinegar.  Occasionally I will make a creamy “ranch style” dressing usually involving a mixture of homemade mayo and sour cream with an extra egg yolk and some garlic and onion powders, salt and pepper, fresh cut herbs from the garden (summer savory and cilantro are my fav!) thinned out with a bit of milk if necessary.  I don’t usually have the time or inclination but if you do a search on the internet you can find all kinds of really wonderful salad dressing recipes, no need to waste money on the nasty bottled stuff  *GAG*.  To learn more check out my blog post: “Let’s Chew The Fat”

3.  Store bought bread or other flour products – I admit, I eat seasonally…meaning I eat veggies, mostly from our garden or the farmer’s market, as they are in season.  But in winter there is very little in season and the grocery store offerings usually leave much to be desired and so I do bake bread.  I don’t BUY bread, I make it myself, pretty much only in the winter, especially this last winter when we were getting lows down to -10F …you just want some bread with a nice thick stew, something to really stick to the ribs and keep you warm, ya know what I mean?  However I do NOT buy bread, have not bought bread in YEARS (unless you count the occasional few times when I have bought hot dog or hamburger buns for cookouts with family or friend visitors in attendance and what-not, but that’s only been a few times..).  I LOVE to bake, and if I am going to eat a flour product like bread or cakes or cookies, I make myself work for it.  I NEVER buy these items already made.  Albeit we don’t eat these things very often….a cake at birthday times, bread once a week in winter, sometimes I will make a special dessert like, for example, in about a month I’ll be making a sponge cake with fresh strawberries from the garden once they are ripe …things like that.  My favorite bread recipes to make are classic french bread, rich delicious eggy challah, and ciabatta bread.  I do eat whole foods, low carb, primal, paleo whatever “name” ya wanna give it, but I see no issue with indulging in special dishes even if they may have white flour or white sugar because I do these things only very occasionally and then I get right back to my regular way of eating and usually with a renewed sense of gratefulness for the normal way that I do eat ’cause those sugar crashes are a BITCH! :lol: